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Collaborative Learning Design


Cooperative / Collaborative Learning Process (from Week One)

  • Design
  • Teaming
  • Learning task assignment
  • Interaction, Moderation / facilitation
  • Group processing
  • Assessment / accountability


Example Instructional Models



Each member of a group is responsible for a separate part of the assignment. Put all pieces together as a group.


Double-entry journal/ Paired annotations


After students read and reflect on the assigned reading, they write their observations about the critical points and their responses to them in their journal. In class, they swap journals with another student who has also read and made comments on the reading. The pair (or group) discusses the key points of the reading and looks for areas of agreement and disagreement. Finally, the group "prepares a composite annotation that summarizes the article, chapter, or concept."


Academic Controversy


The controversy procedure consists of five steps (Johnson & Johnson, 1995).

  1. Organizing Information And Deriving Conclusions: Students research a position, learn the relevant information, and prepare a persuasive "best case possible" for the position.
  2. Presenting And Advocating Positions: Students present in a persuasive and convincing way the "best case possible" for their position.
  3. Uncertainty Created By Being Challenged By Opposing Views: Students engage in an open discussion in which they argue forcefully for their position, refute the opposing position, and rebut attacks on their position.
  4. Epistemic Curiosity And Perspective Taking: Students reverse perspectives and present the opposing position as accurately, completely, persuasively, and forcefully as they can.
  5. Reconceptualizing, Synthesizing, and Integrating: Students drop all advocacy, create a synthesis or integration of the opposing positions, and reach a consensus on the best reasoned judgment that may be made about the issue.




  • Problem statement
  • Brainstorm individually
  • Write down your ideas
  • No limit on the number
  • No judgment on the quality
  • Establish a consensus as a team
  • Read all suggestions
  • Eliminate redundant ones
  • Select best responses
  • Report as team
  • Randomly selected individuals will report their team’s results


Discussion - What Have We Used in the Class?


Use This Tool


Answer a Question

  • Pose Question
  • Blog Write-up
  • Peer Review / Comment
  • Summarize



  • Form a team
  • Choose a topic
  • Design
  • Execute
  • Get feedback
  • Summarize


How well do these match with the criteria for Collaborative Learning?


  • Positive interdependence — that means the team members have to count on one another to do what they are supposed to do, otherwise everyone loses
  • Individual and group accountability — everyone is held responsible for what they’re supposed to be doing, and they’re also held responsible for the group result
  • Interaction — students learn through interaction with each other during significant portions of the learning experience.
  • Team / Collaboration / Interpersonal skill development - students learn to work together in teams and are helped to understand things like conflict resolution, communication, leadership, time management, and so forth.
  • Group Processing - Regular self-assessment of group functioning. “What are we doing well as a team? What could we be doing better? What are we going to differently next time?”

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